Climate summit may bring change

Daily Editorial Board

Last week, negotiations regarding world climate change policy began in Paris. A collection of major political leaders from various countries convened at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference to determine a legally binding, supranational policy regarding climate change — they intend to keep warming from exceeding 2 degrees Celsius. 
 
Addressing the conference, President Barack Obama referred to the negotiations as an “act of defiance” in the wake of the malicious terrorist attacks which occurred earlier in
November. Moreover, while he admitted that the United States has a key role to play in reducing emissions, he also noted the negotiations must take into account poorer countries at risk of extreme weather events. 
 
Critics, however, are not optimistic about the prospects of change. Outside the venue, hundreds of activists were sprayed with tear gas and detained after defying a ban on demonstrations due to the nationwide state of emergency after the attacks. 
 
In the U.S., Republicans have attempted to send a direct message implying the president’s efforts are futile. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell suggested any consensus made could merely be torn up by the country’s next president. 
 
We understand the frustrations that hundreds of thousands of protesters worldwide are venting over the fairness and efficacy of such climate negotiations, in addition to their effect on developing countries.
 
But while it is easy to remain cynical about the progress made at summits like this one, action regarding policy must start somewhere, and time is limited in the search for cooperative solutions.